A priest who called the Harry Potter book series satanic and said Hurricane Katrina was divine punishment for immorality has been named Austrian Bishop of Zuri, according to the Vatican and Italy’s state-run news agency ANSA.
The Rev. Gerhard Wagner has been a pastor in Windischgarsten, Austria, for 20 years, ANSA reported Saturday, and his controversial remarks have triggered controversy.
After Katrina slammed into the Gulf Coast in 2005, levees broke in New Orleans, Louisiana, flooding most of the city. More than 1,800 people in the region died, including over 1,500 in Louisiana.
Wagner was among some ultra-conservatives who suggested Katrina was punishment for the sins of New Orleans, ANSA said.
A hat tip to Cathcon blog who had this to add to the story:
Many engaged Catholics of the Diocese of Linz will perceive this as a provocation. The diocese could have a test of endurance.
According to unconfirmed information, no candidate was considered appearing on the proposed list of Linz Diocesan Bishop Ludwig Schwarz. Allegedly, Rome has directly taken the decision. Even the Vienna Archbishop Cardinal Christoph Schoenborn was not directly involved in the decision-making.
Vicar General Severin Lederhilger could feel deep disappointment at this decision. The Vicar-General was considered one of the favorites and was also next to the former Chaplain of the Seminary of Linz, Johann Hintermaier on the Bishop’s three name candidate list.
The future bishop is so far noted mainly for controversial statements and absolute fidelity to Rome. He has said that environmental disasters are close to divine punishment. The diocese was forced to distance itself from Wagner. (Cathcon- nothing comes except God permits it- an understanding of Catholics in all ages but our own.)
Within the Diocese, Wagner stands for a very controversial minority. According to a church insider, the weight of Wagner's future office is less important than the fact of his appointment. Rome wanted to signal to Linz that the era of liberal and moderate courses are gone.
Some other links include:
San Francisco Chronicle